IPS – Inter Press Service News Agency
October 21st, 2011

IPS director general Mario Lubetkin, Claudia Antunes, Editor, Folha de S. Paulo and GCIS deputy CEO Vusi Mona discuss how to prmomote the IBSA story. Photo: IPS/Zukiswa Zimela


IPS partnered with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) to bring together Indian, Brazilian and South African media leaders to discuss issues of mutual concern ahead of the IBSA Summit in Pretoria, South Africa in October.

About 40 editors, media stakeholders and observers attended the IBSA Editors Forum on Monday, October 17, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was held with the support of the Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS) of South Africa and the World Bank.

IPS Africa chairperson Professor Govin Reddy welcomed delegates and outlined the need to review the way the global south was covered by the media.

SANEF chairperson Mondli Makhanya noted that the meeting was the continuation of a process started in Brasilia last year which began to move the media in the three countries towards a greater understanding of each other.

“During the course of today, we need to be asking ourselves questions about the relationship that has developed between these three countries; interrogate ourselves about the role that IBSA is playing and how this has changed global dynamics … and whether we ourselves are informing the people of our respective countries about the changed dynamics,” said Makhanya.

It was noted that, despite the importance of IBSA, there was very little coverage in the respective countries.

A presentation by IPS director general Mario Lubetkin on the outcomes from the 2010 IBSA editors’ forum highlighted the progress made since Brasilia. At that meeting, editors had identified the need for wider dissemination of government actions to promote citizen participation; increase knowledge of IBSA; partnerships between public and private media outlets from each country; quality coverage of IBSA beyond summits; communication about south realities by south media; encourage citizen participation by outlining the impact of IBSA on their lives; the creation of a network of IBSA editors; and, institutionalization of communication within IBSA.

While there was some progress in generation of content generation, more needed to be done in ensuring practical partnerships. In particular, the need for a network of IBSA editors was still strong.

Speaker Vusi Mona, deputy CEO of GCIS outlined the need for the story of the south to be told by reporters using sources from the south – promoting the idea of a database of experts who could be accessed by reporters from the IBSA countries.

The meeting resolved to:

– Use the site, created after the first IBSA editors conference in Brasilia, to create a network of editors to be able to consult and establish partnerships among themselves;

– Extend the site to include a directory of experts and journalists covering IBSA;

– Develop a credible database of information;

– Build up the IBSA Editors Forum as an independent non-state actor driven by editors and communicators.

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